Case 1:
A very bright 5th grader with Dyslexia, ADHD
combined and executive function weaknesses.

PRESENTING QUESTION The parents feel that the school misunderstands their child's disability and minimizes its impact. Their child is being held accountable for his classroom performance without taking into account his disability nor accommodating for it.

RESOLUTION I worked with the Special Education TEAM to clarify description of child's disability and the direct impact on school performance. This, in turn, was translated directly to goals and interventions on the IEP. I return periodically to tighten the program and provide feedback.

Case 2:
Medically complex child with no language abilities or obvious potential to learn.

PRESENTING QUESTION The parents of this unique child wanted help to find the words to motivate this TEAM to work on her behalf. Their daughter didn't fit into any existing program. There was a need to integrate the school TEAM and the child's specialists' with the parent's wishes for their child. The parents were concerned that interventions will be fragmented without a "big picture" understanding and an integrated plan.

RESOLUTION I have been able to work with a unique TEAM of teachers and specialists dedicated to learning new skills that will aid the child. The TEAM is taking exquisite care in planning sequence leading to literacy and communication skills. Both classroom teachers and fellow students are learning to communicate with the child. Enormous emotional energy has been invested in re-thinking how to respond to her development.

Case 3:
A Developmentally Delayed child with significant non-verbal learning disabilities.

PRESENTING QUESTION The child has made miraculous progress in the area of language, readiness skills and general function, yet she was still significantly behind her peers. Her kindergarten teacher is recommending she be placed in a special class for lower functioning children. The parents feel, that given their daughter's recent progress, it is premature to move her out of the mainstream. The parents are overwhelmed by the teacher's negative feedback, when they themselves feel so positive about how far she has come. They would like for her to continue on the current course.

RESOLUTION I recommended a neuropsychological evaluation of the child, which indeed supported her continued placement in a mainstream class. Given her incredible pace of developmental growth, considering her challenges, it made sense not to remove her from the mainstream at this point. However, we added some direct special education instruction in literacy and math to assure she would make skill-based progress.

Case 4:
A bright 2nd grader with Asperger's Syndrome,
a high functioning form of Autism.

PRESENTING QUESTION Parents were concerned their son was becoming increasingly disengaged from his classroom. The interventions his teachers were trying made matters worse, subsequently, he was falling behind his peers and spending increasing amounts of time out of the classroom. His behavior at home was deteriorating as well. His parents believed that he was aware that his behavior was poor, and they were concerned about his level of happiness.

RESOLUTION I selected an appropriate neuropsychologist, knowledgeable in the area of his primary disability. Many individuals with this disability also have disabilities in the area of written language and he was no exception. The evaluator also formally diagnosed ADHD combined with executive function disabilities. He was still a very bright boy who really wanted to do the right thing and felt badly that school wasn't going well. Given how quickly things were deteriorating for him in school I convinced the school to hire a consultant who specialized in Asperger's Syndrome who could work intensively with his teachers and the staff to provide the structure that he desperately needed. Once he was stabilized we began to include the academic supports he needed for his learning challenges. As his behavior improved and he was more engaged in school, the TEAM became determined and invested in understanding more about his disorder and creating an environment that facilitated his success.

Case 5:
Parents are being denied public funding for their son's specialized schooling.

PRESENTING QUESTION Due to Bi-Polar Disorder, this teenager presented a danger to himself, and had been hospitalized for a long period. According to all professionals involved, he would require a very specialized private therapeutic setting after being discharged. A recommendation from his public school TEAM was required in order to attain public funding. The TEAM systematically denied this request.

RESOLUTION There were several evaluations and reports from his outpatient & inpatient therapists and his case manager, as well as a neuropsychological evaluation done in the hospital. I attended several school meetings where there was no agreement about his need for a placement in a therapeutic school. I advised the parents how to properly give notice to their school district about their intention to unilaterally make a placement, as this allows them to legitimately come back to their school to request reimbursement. After several meetings and attorney input, we and the TEAM were able to come to an agreement about his need for a therapeutic day school program. They also agreed with our choice of program after being persuaded that he was making excellent progress.

Case 6:
A teenage girl who wouldn't go to school.

PRESENTING QUESTION This teenage girl refused to go to school every morning. She would go to sleep each night intending to go to school and just couldn't get out of bed each morning. Her parents identified her as "School Phobic", but the school handled her case punitively.

RESOLUTION I worked to get her an psychological evaluation, in which she was diagnosed with Agoraphobia. I then worked with the school administration and her Special Education TEAM to end their punitive, truant approach. We reframed her problem as psychological with the help of her therapist and began to discuss what therapeutic intervention would make the most sense. She eventually spent a year in a residential, therapeutic school. She chose to complete school by taking the High School Equivalency Exam (GED).